From the time you start reading this article to the time when you are halfway down the page (depending on how fast you read) a lot of has happened on the Internet. Recent research suggests that in only 60 seconds, the following has occurred: 2 million Google searches; 1.8 million Facebook likes; 278,000 tweets; 11,000 professional searches on LinkedIn; 571 new websites created; 347 new blogs posted on WordPress; and 70 new domains registered. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.
The digital economy is driven by ideas. Ideas are packaged and fed through multiple content channels (email, mobile, web, social), delivering brand messages to consumers, converting leads into clients, and keeping the whole machine running. Take Google Analytics as an example. Keywords, whether worked into web content for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or as part of a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, are literally taken as a metric of an organization’s success. The age of instant publication is the age of content marketing. Savvy DIY marketers and start-ups can put themselves on the same playing field as industry giants through generating relevant and visible content (especially content that “pleases” Google’s web-sweeping bots).
Content poses its own set of problems in the marketing landscape though – mainly due to the sheer volume of content churned out on a minute-to-minute basis. IBM recently reported that over the past two years, more content has been produced online than was created throughout history! With so many people engaging with so much content, it has become harder to achieve significant ROI from marketing efforts — whether you are a marketing agency, a marketer working for a business, or an entrepreneur building your brand vision.
One solution that’s been touted by industry giants and startups alike is marketing automation. A marketing automation platform (MAP) allows marketers to identify relevant leads based on consumer behavior (for example, how long did this lead spend on a particular web page). Once a lead has been identified, it can then be moved to an appropriate nurturing track, in which automated strategies such as drip campaigns ensure constant communication and time-appropriate content. By automating outreach and relevant content channels, the modern marketer can effectively convert and move more leads into the sales pipeline. Organizations that utilize a MAP to nurture prospects, see a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuities Group)
A good MAP can help address fundamental frictions with content distribution. Lead management campaigns using four or more digital channels outperform single or dual channels by 300 percent. (Gartner) Advertising, social, and corporate content is quickly converging. Converged media happens when two or more channels of paid, earned, and owned media with the same storyline, look, and feel overlap. So while multiple channels increases marketing ROI, if the content channels are not appropriately synchronized, there is the risk of inconsistent branding and redundancy without genuine communication (Altimeter Group) A MAP can address this issue by providing a centralized platform to run and track content distributed across multiple channels.
One major obstacle for adopting MAPs for smaller startups and DIY marketers is the steep pricing that comes with many of the platforms available today. However, as is often the case with competitive and growing markets, there is now an emerging trend towards greater accessibility for MAPs. NYC-based software startup LeaDNA is a great example. LeaDNA’s fully integrated MAP is intended for Marketing Agencies and Channel Marketers with multiple partners, built to hold and manage hundreds of thousands of leads. However, their new OfficeBird Project is being unrolled for DIY marketers, driven by their “5-hour work week” slogan.
The Harlem Times recently sat down with LeaDNA CEO Raz Choudhury to talk about leveraging the power of marketing automation for small businesses, startups, and DIY marketers.
So, what is the 5-hour work week?
The 5-hour work week is about being free to do the things that matter. I’ve been in the tech industry for 20 years, and have been running creative marketing campaigns for my ventures for about 15 years. And what I’ve noticed most is that people don’t use their time effectively. We get caught up in pointless emails or searching for cold leads. Eventually people feel so bored with their job they wind up spending half the day surfing Facebook. And then there’s the “shackles of data entry,” spending hours wrestling with excel sheets, long repetitive tasks, and siloed systems that don’t talk to each other. Work, especially marketing, should be about creativity and coming up with new ideas, not mindless data entry. So we’ve set ourselves to applying automation to cut out human error, and let marketers, sales people, and business leaders focus on what really matters. Use data visualization to get an overview of your organization’s marketing ROI in an instant. Set automation rules to cultivate and nurture leads with timely emails and social posts. Target leads based on geographic, demographic, and web behavior. This is what we’re talking about – freeing yourself from the work that you shouldn’t have to do in the first place.
LeaDNA is already being picked up by larger organizations with multiple partners, so what’s the reason for the Office Bird Project?
The Office Bird Project comes out of our identity as entrepreneurs. I look around and see some of the brightest talent doing menial labor at a company, not using their gifts. We support startups and innovation in NYC, and we want to help DIY marketers that have a vision. Most of us at LeaDNA come from an entrepreneurial background; it’s part of our identity as a company.
Tell us more about your experience as an entrepreneur based out of NYC.
Well my main inspiration has always been my Grandfather. He was very poor and started working at a general store in India at the age of eight. Over years of working, somehow my Grandfather was able to keep saving his money until he eventually built a portfolio of businesses – from transportation, logging, and shipping, to hotels and tea shops. After civil unrest in India, my Grandfather fled to a nearby town and had to start all over again.
I was born in Silet, India, near the Himalayas, and moved with my Mother and Father to Astoria, Queens when I was 11-years-old. I studied hard and at 19 started working as a Network Engineer for IBM. In 1999 I founded USAWeb, developing websites, apps, and driving digital marketing campaigns for our clients. Now with LeaDNA I want to continue to challenge my self and the people I work with. We’re currently building our client base of marketing agencies, channel marketers, organizations, and businesses, and will be meeting with investors soon to scale up our operations.
The Office Bird Project is my way of trying to help the people whose position I’ve been in – the dreamers, creatives, business owners staying up all night – these are the people that move markets forward and change the world.
So when can we expect to see Office Bird?
We’re shooting for sometime next quarter. Our hope is that people will see that they can use automation to make their lives easier, market for themselves, and scale their ventures.
To find out more about LeaDNA and The Office Bird Project visit www.leadna.com